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Financial News: China Industrial Output Growth Tops Expectations; Retail S

China Industrial Output Growth Tops Expectations; Retail Sales Soften

03/18/2024 - 05:11:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - China industrial production grew more than expected in the January to February period, but retail sales growth softened and property investment continued a notable decline, adding scope for policy stimulus as the government aims to achieve around 5 percent growth.

Industrial output posted an increase of 7.0 percent in the January to February period, faster than the 6.8 percent rise in December, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Monday. Output was forecast to grow moderately by 5.0 percent. At the same time, retail sales increased 5.5 percent in the January to February period from the previous year. This was slower than the 7.4 percent increase in December, but well above economists' forecast of 5.2 percent.

Fixed asset investment expanded 4.2 percent in the first two months of the year from the prior year. Economists had forecast an increase of 3.2 percent.

Property investment registered a 9.0 percent fall, which was less severe than the 24 percent decrease in December.

The unemployment rate rose to 5.3 percent from 5.1 percent in December, data showed.

The NBS usually combines economic data of January and February to avoid distortions caused by the timing of the Lunar New Year. Economists at Capital Economics forecast the recovery to continue over the coming months given the increase in the policy support outlined by the government.

However, the recovery may prove short-lived and achieving the government's growth target of around 5.0 percent looks challenging, economists added.

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